In the fight over how to distribute music, who is right: Spotify or Taylor Swift?
SoundCloud is reportedly negotiating with major labels, offering them an equity stake and per-play fees in exchange for being able to use their music. This means the service is about to copy YouTube’s licensing strategy.
From Amazon’s point of view the licensing fees it pays rights owners are merely part of the subscriber acquisition costs for Prime’s two-day shipping plan — a number Amazon needs to keep as low as possible.
The Justice Department will reexamine rules that require music publishers to license their song catalogs to everyone on a more or less equal basis.
Spotify’s payments to record companies and publishers are pegged to its gross revenue, and increase roughly in proportion to the increase in Spotify’s user base. Performance royalties paid to artists, however, are set on a per-use basis, not a per-user basis, and make a poor proxy for an artist’s value to the service.
Unlike in the music industry, digital technology has not yet changed how the money flows in the TV business or (for the most part) who gets it. If and when it does, the TV industry, too, will experience its moment of disruption.
Different rights owners and middlemen –including artists — have claims on different music revenue streams and can’t simply substitute one for another.
Pandora can get the benefit of a 2010 agreement it reached with ASCAP, which provides licenses for the music industry; ASCAP can’t narrow the license even though music labels want to yank new media rights.
Apple is unlikely to launch an advertising-only streaming service a la Pandora given that no one –including Pandora — has been able to make money that way. The more likely scenario is that Apple will launch some sort of hybrid service that involves advertising, paid subscriptions, and the ability to purchase instantly via iTunes the song you just heard on the streaming radio channel.
Germany’s music rights group GEMA asked YouTube to block videos containing some of its music – and is now upset about the way YouTube is handling those restrictions.